Walking to work in the snow
I live about three miles from work, which means I can walk to work in about an hour. It beats a gym membership, lets me get my thoughts together before the day and, because Portland is such an outdoorsy kind of town, it's a really pleasant walk along the river and up a wooded trail.
I decided to walk in this morning despite the light dusting of snow, or maybe because of it. While I don't like going out up to the mountain in the winter, I like getting out in the snow when it comes to visit here in town. And, as you might see from the pictures I took along the way, the walk becomes really picturesque in the snow.
There was still some ice under the snow from the dusting we got Sunday, but the snow itself was powdery and easy enough to walk on, although I admit to walking on a couple lawns rather than risking the potentially slick sidewalk.
The most uncomfortable part of the walk wasn't the cold or even the wet, but being bundled against the elements and hiking up the hill between Johns Landing (which is about sea level) and Hillsdale (about 500 feet). Unbundling meant getting wet from snow, staying bundled meant getting wet from sweat. I chose snow.
This part of my walk is always kind of surreal. In the middle of Portland it feels like a hike in the Cascades, except for the sound of the traffic up on Capitol Highway or walking under the huge bridges for the freeway and Barbur Blvd. With the snow the sound of traffic was muted, and the trail had an even more surreal, mountain hike feel to it.
I probably did well to walk -- even though the streets are not bad (maybe a little slick, but passable), the drivers in Portland are. I counted at least four cars driving with chains, two school busses with chains on the inside of the dualies, and a bunch of people with studs, and the roads, while slick, are pretty much bare pavement.
Of course, I don't know which is worse, the idiots with the chains, or the maniacs with four or all wheel drive who think they're immune to slick pavement. Walking up Capitol Highway where there is no sidewalk I had a moment of terror where a Volvo almost smashed into the back of the car in front of him by slamming on his brakes and skidding to a stop.
But, all in all, it was a nice walk, a nice day in the snow, and it will be nice when it turns to rain and washes all away…